Editor’s note: A big tip of the hat to Kyle for the guest post. Kyle brings a great deal of expertise to the blog as an A&M graduate, season ticket holder, and long-time Aggie football fan. Give him a follow on twitter @AggieSCB.
With the absence of the unending media coverage on Johnny Manziel, A&M has enjoyed a particularly quiet fall camp. The main drama A&M football did give us was yet another QB battle for Sumlin decipher. It has been well documented that Sumlin is a one-quarterback coach in the sense that once he chooses a starting quarterback there won’t be any splitting reps or rotating of quarterbacks from that point on. Well on Saturday Sumlin picked his guy. With the announcement of Kenny Hill starting as our first team quarterback, there has been a sense of order re-established in College Station.
Kenny Hill is a true Sophmore from South Lake Carroll High School where he earned Texas Gatorade Player of the year and Class 5A Offensive Player of the Year, throwing for 2,291 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushing for 905 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2012. He followed that up in his true freshmen year at A&M by completing 16 of 22 passes for 183 yards and one touchdown while rushing 37 yards on 7 carries.
Hill beat out true freshman Kyle Allen, one of the many crown jewels of the 2014 recruiting class. Allen hails from Scottsdale, Arizona as the top ranked quarterback in the country after passing for over 8000 yards, 86 touchdowns, and 542 completions during his high school career. To say that Kyle Allen competed against Kenny Hill is a severe understatement. Kyle Allen arrived on campus fully expecting to win the starting position in his first year and gave the coaches a VERY difficult decision.
The reasons behind the Kenny Hill decision are fairly simple. Hill has been noted as being a better athlete and a more mobile quarterback who, in a season opener game against South Carolina, could prove to be invaluable. Coach Spavital also commented that Hill was much more comfortable in the situational drills as far as getting the offense set and reading the defense. This of course comes with being in the program for over a year. It was that experience and his physical mobility that turned out to be the deciding factors in this very exciting QB battle.
Having Hill named as our starting quarterback also leaves a lot more to be excited about in the future. The door is now open for a very intriguing scenario. Picture this, Kenny Hill remains the first string quarterback through 2014 with Kyle Allen getting as many reps as possible in our blowout competitions. Let’s assume we have a successful season, 8-4 record or better, getting our 9th win in our bowl game. We will then be coming off a 9 win season in a year where many are pegging us to be third to last in our division. Kenny Hill will enter the 2015 offseason as a seasoned starter and have full command of Sumlin’s offense with Kyle Allen being the ever ready backup nipping at the heels of Kenny Hill.
Enter Kyler Murray. If things stay the way they are currently, A&M will usher in one of the most elite recruiting classes in 2015 that it has seen in the last decade. Included in this 2015 recruiting class is one of the nation’s top ranked QBs, Kyler Murray. Having those three quarterbacks (Hill, Allen, and Murray) on campus would be phenomenal for A&M in terms of national profile, talent, and recruiting.
Let us again imagine that Kenny Hill beats out both Kyler Murray and Kyle Allen to keep his starting position for the 2015 season. Sumlin could easily convince Kyler Murray to Redshirt for the 2015 season with the opportunity of taking over the team in 2016. Kyle Allen would be the wild card in this scenario because, as good as he is, he knows he could transfer and start for a number of other schools. However, I think the hope of taking over the squad in 2016 as well as the thought of having to sit out a year to rejoin with an FBS school will keep Kyle Allen in the fold.
With Kenny Hill as the starting quarterback and the large influx of talent coming from the 2015 recruiting class, it stands to reason that Kenny Hill’s performance would improve in 2015. It is hard to imagine that A&M won’t have banner year in 2015 with the accumulation of the 2013, 2014, and by that time 2015 recruiting classes on campus. Depending on Hill’s performances in 2014 and 2015 season we could see Hill become A&M’s next QB to be picked in the first round of the NFL draft. This would be an ideal situation because we would have Kyle Allen more than ready to take over Kenny Hill’s vacated position and Kyler Murray would be a redshirt freshman as the second string quarterback in 2016.
I am continuing to assume that Coach Sumlin is going to keep curb stomping Charlie Strong in recruiting, and he will have yet another elite quarterback prospect coming to College Station in 2016. It is at that point that we would have a solid foundation to becoming the top QB University in the nation. By redshirting our 2016 quarterback, having Kyler Murray as second string, and Kyle Allen as our first string quarterback we would have a natural progression for our quarterbacks in the years to come.
Obviously there are a lot of other factors that go into this scenario. For example, what if Hill decides to stay his senior year (2016) and Allen transfers? It would not be ideal in the sense that we would be letting go of a 5 star talent, but we would still have Hill at first string, Murray at second string, and we could still redshirt our incoming 2016 quarterback. Needless to say, there are countless ways this could all play out. But for now, it looks like all things are pointing in the right direction in College Station.